SINGAPORE: Key sports businesses can tap a new S$13.5 million grant to defray operating costs under the latest relief measures for the COVID-19-hit sports sector.
The Sports Resilience Package operating grant will help up to 150 of these businesses, which include private clubs and academies as well as league and facility operators, continue operating while exploring and shifting to new business models.
The Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) will provide a grant the equivalent of about 25 per cent of the total operating expenses of such businesses, capped at $15,000 per month, from October 2020 to March 2021.
The grant is part of additional relief measures for the arts, culture and sports sectors announced by Culture, Community and Youth Minister Edwin Tong in Parliament on Thursday (Apr 15).
“This grant will also ensure that our critical sport businesses which contribute to our athlete pipeline development and training do not close down due to the pandemic, do not marginalise the programmes that are available for athletes, allowing athletes to benefit from the best training programmes,” Mr Tong said.
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MCCY said in a factsheet on Thursday that businesses must demonstrate they have been working closely with National Sports Associations (NSA) to contribute to athlete pipeline development, and/or is a key player in this ecosystem to be eligible for the grant.
“In addition, the business must show that their revenues have been and will continue to be severely affected by COVID-19. To receive the grant, the business must commit to preserving jobs and upskilling their workforce,” it said.
"GOING DIGITAL IS PARAMOUNT"
An additional S$9 million will be set aside for capability development, including funding support for more companies that want to organise hybrid online-offline sports events and improve their digital skills.
It will allow eligible event operators, event management companies as well as private academies and clubs to more frequently develop hybrid programmes that enable more Singaporeans to participate in sports.
“The last few months have shown that going digital is paramount. It allows our businesses and freelancers to reach out to existing, newer and wider audiences, allowing higher quality content to be developed and also a degree of interactivity despite the fact that you're communicating across two screens,” Mr Tong said.
MCCY said it is targeting to support more than 100 projects, involving around 450,000 participants, over the next six months.
“Additionally, these measures will also support sports businesses and self-employed persons to enhance the quality of their digital productions and expand their reach through hosting their content on the ActiveSG Circle virtual platform,” it said.
“This will support sports businesses in producing new content monthly, and expand the range of content to meet the community’s varied needs and interests.”
Beyond that, Mr Tong said MCCY is working with health authorities to pilot the resumption of spectator sports and mass participation sport events in the “near future”.
“In particular, we will have to find new modalities for mass participation events to avoid large concentrations of people in one place and also to consider the use blended models in some of these events,” he said.
MORE INCENTIVES FOR COACHES
Under the same capability development initiative, S$2.5 million will be set aside to provide registered coaches with a training allowance of S$10 an hour when they take up CoachSG courses beyond the required Continuing Coach Education hours.
In addition, up to 80 pairs of Level 2 and Level 3 registered coaches can participate in CoachSG’s structured mentorship programme, where mentees and mentors will get S$400 and S$600 per month respectively.
Application details for these support measures will be put up on SportSG’s website on Nov 2.
These additional measures come on top of an earlier S$25 million package announced in June to give immediate COVID-19 relief and ensure business continuity in the sports sector.
Mr Tong said Singapore’s sports ecosystem is made up of a diverse range of different institutions, including the NSAs, private academies and clubs, private leagues, sports facility operators and coaches.
"They all play an important role in our collective efforts to build a strong pipeline of athletes to mould and shape them and to support them on their quest for competitive success on both the domestic and international front," he said.
"Many private academies and clubs in particular complement the efforts of our NSAs; they enrich training and talent development, and they also offer a range of different competitive opportunities.
“We understand the impact that COVID-19 has had on these private academies, leagues and facility operators, and we understand the challenges they go through. Many of them need some measure of support, if nothing else, to tide over the period.”